Saracen

Overview

Saracen

Design work on a new series of 6x6 vehicles, the F600 range, began shortly after the Second World War. Design parent for the series was Alvis Ltd. of Coventry. Due to the situation in Malaya in the late 1940s work was accelerated on the Saracen, which was urgently required at the expense of the first vehicle in the series the Saladin armoured car. Production vehicles started to be delivered in 1952. The six-wheel drive layout gives very good mobility, the downside being a rather high silhouette due to the complex drive train, gearbox and fuel tanks under the floor.

Unlike the Saladin, the engine is at the front. The Saracen was the standard armoured personnel carrier of the British Army for some eleven years until 1963 when the FV432 fully tracked APC started delivery. However, like its predecessor, the Humber ‘Pig’, Saracen then became a desirable commodity again with the deteriorating situation in Northern Ireland in 1969. Production continued for export until 1972, some 1838 vehicles being built. As well as the standard APC, some other variants were produced, the most widely used being a command variant with a higher roof, map tables, extra communications etc, and an ambulance variant which can carry ten seated patients or a lesser number if stretchers are used.

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